Seven “Must Haves” for Freshmen Attending Pensacola Christian College

So you’re about to go to college. More specifically, you’re headed off to Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida. Likely for the first time, you’ll be living mostly on your own and away from your family. Your main concern? You can’t even load the laundry without spilling bleach everywhere.

Don’t worry; I’m totally there with you. When I graduated from high school, Mom had to force me to go shopping for my graduation party. Sucking back tears in Party City, I remember admitting that shopping for graduation decorations was like planning my own funeral.

Life as I knew it was about to change forever.

But don’t panic! College is legit the best years of your life. It’s the perfect category between being a child and adult: You have enough freedom to take on adult responsibilities all within the safety of your family’s health insurance.

A lot of my internet followers found me through my college vlogs (and video projects) on YouTube, and I’m constantly getting questions about PCC, dorm life, tips and hacks, and general inquiries about packing and living as a college student.

In this article, I’m going to give you seven key must-haves as a college student at PCC:

  • Tide Pods
  • Bed Shelves
  • Mattress Pads
  • Hot Pot and Ramen
  • First Aid
  • Winter Clothes
  • Facebook

And if there are any current students or alumni that find this page, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments!

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Seven Ways to Write Betrayal in Your Novel

I don’t know if I’m just sadistic, or if I have some deep buried emotional trauma from my past, or I’m just a stereotypical writer who likes to bring emotional tragedy on her readers…but I’ve always loved betrayal. I love reading it, writing it–it doesn’t matter.

If I really had to guess why betrayal has always been my go-to literary plot device, it might have something to do with the way I think of loyalty. Loyalty is one of the most important qualities a person could have, in my opinion. And sadly, because we’re human, we rarely find that friend who’s loyal until the end.

We’re all disappointed by one another at some point in our lives, but luckily, it’s a common wound we all share, which makes betrayal in novels a powerful tool to wound your readers, yet still have them come crawling back for more.

I’m going to be using the following examples from TV and literature, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, run awaaaay: Treasure Planet, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, Star Wars, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Inkheart, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Legend by Marie Lu, Mean Girls, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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The Drawing Journey

Everyone loves art, but most people think they can’t do it. My studio art roommate and I complain about how many time we hear people boast that they “can’t even draw a stick figure.” Besides this being the most cliché excuse in the book that leaves us artists wondering why you think it’s so important that everyone know that about you–it’s simply untrue.

People that can draw haven’t gotten there because of raw talent (well, with the exception of Dave Ham). Most of the time, they need to practice just like any other hobby or skill. And even the ones with all that raw talent still get better through practice.

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Fire Writing: The Hobby of Pyrography (Feat. Josiah Vogel)

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Josiah Vogel has been woodburning for a little over a year after a friend of his gave him a woodburned lion as a gift. Intrigued and wanting to try it out for himself, Vogel bought himself an entry-level woodburner and began practicing small pieces in his free time. His first project was of a small penguin, and after that a wolf. As he continued investing in his hobby, Vogel upgraded his equipment, bought multiple different nibs for his woodburning “pens,” and began selling some of his work to the campus’s residents.

Vogel’s most notable pieces include a portrait of Groot from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and a large 4×3 ft burning of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. He is currently working on a burning of Edmund Leighton’s The Accolade, which has already taken him forty hours.

For information on commissions and pictures of his other pieces, visit Josiah’s Facebook page and watch for his upcoming YouTube page.

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How to Meet Your Characters Without Doing Tons of Character Worksheets

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve probably come across that one blog that suggests character interviews is the solution to every writer’s writing block. Then they’ll give you a long fill-in-the-blank worksheet that has questions entirely irrelevant to your character’s interests. Why do you want to know about their love life? Who cares if they have a theme song? And they don’t have time for sports — the world is at stake, for Pete’s sake!

I will say that Charahub is a pretty legit place for these kinds of questions, but I personally think interviews are mostly useless unless you’ve already got a pretty good grasp on the character’s main interests that pertain specifically to the plot of your story. Only after you figure out their most immediate concerns (saving the world), can you focus on love lives and sports.

That being said, over the years I’ve discovered different ways to learn your character’s psyche — and some of these ways I’ve never heard recommended anywhere else.

Know Your Characters

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How to Make a Professional Cover Photo Without a DSLR Camera

When I launched my blog last Christmas, the most comments I got were directed toward my cover photo at the top of the screen. Friends that were heavily into photography and videography nodded their approval, and several asked just exactly how I did it.

Well. I’ll tell you it definitely wasn’t with a Canon Rebel and a light studio, that’s for sure.

Imagine a nineteen-year-old college student alone in the house and an ambitious project in her head. Oh, and a random pile of boxes, books, and her brother’s school supplies stacked on a chair across the table. Imagine a large hole puncher propping up her iPhone on the top of the makeshift tower. Yeah, that’s my “studio” for you.

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Behind the Scenes of “Faint Not”

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Several people have asked me how I put together my Scripture For Life chapel challenge video (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here!) So I thought I might take the night alone in my room to write a basic tutorial explaining how I made the animations using just Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X.

I started out with the idea. My roommate suggested doing an animation versus a live-action video because I wouldn’t have to feel bad about collecting the prize scholarship when so many actors would have helped with the project. With a cartoon made completely from my computer, I would have done the entire video myself.

The first thing to do was come up with a verse I’d like to center my video around. That was easy, since my college verses are Isaiah 41:10,13. I liked the visual image I got when I read the verses, since it specifically talks about the God of the universe holding our right hand and leading us along through our life’s trials.

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